Since completing an Australia Awards – Africa Fellowship in Trade Policy at the University of Adelaide in early 2013, Ali Kamanga has played a leading role in the implementation of trade facilitation programs to promote private sector development in Malawi.
Working at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ali was the lead officer in the development of the Strategy for Eliminating Non-tariff Barriers in Malawi. He was involved in consultation processes with key stakeholders, including the Malawi Government, the private sector, TradeMark Southern Africa (TMSA), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The elimination of non-tariff barriers will support private sector development through the promotion of increased competition and a reduction of costs to export.
Ali is also overseeing the implementation of an ongoing initiative called Accelerated Programme for Economic Integration (APEI), supported by the World Bank. This initiative benefits Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and Zambia and seeks to address obstacles to doing business by focusing on improving the business regulatory framework, enhancing trade facilitation, removing non-tariff barriers and improving trade in services.
“Among the key lessons I learnt on the Australia Awards Fellowship was the need for the private sector to play a key role in the development of policy and programs,” says Ali, who has applied the knowledge gained in his studies in Australia in the APEI programme he manages.
This initiative is expected to improve Malawi’s trade positioning by lowering the cost of conducting business for the private sector, as well as promoting economic growth and development through improved export competitiveness.
“I strongly attribute my improved understanding of trade facilitation issues, trade in services negotiations and trade services development to the skills and knowledge I gained in the Australia Awards trade course,” says Ali.
Over 70 African trade officials have participated in the Africa Fellowship Trade Policy, Design and Negotiation courses offered by Australia Awards since 2011.